{Penang, Malaysia] Dinner at Firewood, Pitt Street

Firewood is a 12-day-old eatery specialising in grills. The sleek restaurant occupies a historic building within George Townโ€™s UNESCO-listed world heritage zone. The 116-year-old building used to house the offices of the Penang Opium and Spirits Farm, which were responsible for issuing licenses for opium dens, as well as facilities for the processing of raw opium in the early part of the 20th-century. The opium farms themselves were located in India.

Fronted by two young chefs, JJ Lew and Ker Yang Hao, formerly of Gordon Ramsayโ€™s Bread Street Kitchen in Marina Bay Sands Singapore, the kitchen churned out a line of surprisingly tasty offerings which were much better than those weโ€™d had in other similar spots in George Town.

:small_orange_diamond: Charcoal-grilled Caesar salad - this dish turned out to be my fave for the evening. Itโ€™s quite difficult to find authentic Caesar salad in Malaysia, so Firewoodโ€™s pretty competent attempt was very much welcomed.

:small_orange_diamond: Charred white sweet corn, with Bearnaise sauce and parmesan - lovely flavours, but quite difficult to eat, as the corn were thickly-slathered with the sauces.

:small_orange_diamond: Charcoal-grilled miso aubergine, with spring onions, coriander and lime - pretty sure I first tasted this at Nobu quite a while back. Very good.

:small_orange_diamond: Grilled Japanese Harima oysters, with Swiss cheese and ikura (salmon roe) - very fresh oysters, but the least-impressive amongst the dishes we had this evening.

:small_orange_diamond: Grilled barramundi, with charred lemon and a โ€œspecial sauceโ€.

:small_orange_diamond: Jamaican jerk chicken, with mango salsa and Peri-peri sauce. Firewoodโ€™s rendition resulted in a rather Chinese-tasting โ€œchar-siewโ€-style chicken - which was probably directed at its mainly-ethnic Chinese client base here in Penang.
The Peri-peri sauce was hot enough to scald oneโ€™s tongue. My lips still felt burnt long after the meal!

:small_orange_diamond: Angus sirloin steak - we ordered medium-rare, but the steak was overcooked.

:small_orange_diamond: Mushroom tagliatelle with Manchego cheese, truffle oil and parsley - tasty, truffle-scented creamy pasta dish, done to sheer perfection here.

:small_orange_diamond: Charcoal cream tiramisu - overly-sweet, and not creamy enough for me.

:small_orange_diamond: Deep-fried bao with semifreddo and condensed milk - absolutely scrumptious. Iโ€™ll come back here just for this.

:small_orange_diamond: Charcoal-burnt cheesecake with vanilla ice-cream - this was by far one of the best cheesecakes Iโ€™d had in a while.

Overall, quite a decent attempt at providing grill house fare. Cooking over open flames gave all their dishes really marvelous, smokey-aromatic flavours.
Service is still rather shaky at best, by a young and inexperienced team. Still, itโ€™s only been 12 days.

Firewood, The Star Pitt Street
15, Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling (Pitt Street), 10200 George Town, Penang, Malaysia
Tel: +6017-989 9246
Operating hours: 12 noon - 2.30pm, 5.30pm to 10pm, Tue to Sun. Closed on Mondays.


Back to Firewood for lunch today. The eatery looked airier and lighter in daylight.

What we ordered today:
:small_orange_diamond:๐˜Š๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ค๐˜ฐ๐˜ข๐˜ญ-๐˜ค๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ ๐˜Š๐˜ข๐˜ฆ๐˜ด๐˜ข๐˜ณ ๐˜ด๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ข๐˜ฅ - I simply cannot get enough of this dish: smokey-aromatic wilted Romaine lettuce, with the creamy Caesar dressing. Itโ€™s the best one can find in Penang.

Some minor quibbles - anchovies were almost absent from the dressing, perhaps to accommodate the local Penang palate. Not quite enough Parmigiano-Reggiano nor croutons for me here. And worse bit: the soft-boiled (instead of poached) egg was actually refrigerator cold - merely room temperature wouldโ€™ve sufficed.

:small_orange_diamond:๐˜๐˜ช๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ธ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ฎ๐˜ถ๐˜ด๐˜ฉ๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฎ ๐˜ด๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ฑ - this was good, and the truffle oil complemented the flavours of the mushrooms perfectly.

:small_orange_diamond:๐˜๐˜ช๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ธ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ๐˜ฎ๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜ด๐˜ฐ๐˜ถ๐˜ฑ - nice balance of flavours. This is one of the best tomato soups in town.
Note: Both soups did not come with any bread, nor were there any bread-basket on each table.

:small_orange_diamond:๐˜Ž๐˜ณ๐˜ช๐˜ญ๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ฎ๐˜ช๐˜ด๐˜ฐ-๐˜ณ๐˜ถ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ ๐˜‰๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ณ๐˜ข๐˜ฎ๐˜ถ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ๐˜ช ๐˜ง๐˜ช๐˜ด๐˜ฉ ๐˜ค๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฌ - I ordered this dish because it reminded me of the legendary miso cod dish served at Nobu. Unfortunately, the one here had hardly any discernible miso flavour.

:small_orange_diamond:๐˜›๐˜ณ๐˜ข๐˜ฅ๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ข๐˜ญ ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ-๐˜ฃ๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ง๐˜ช๐˜ด๐˜ฉ ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ค๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ฑ๐˜ด - I like fish and chips with beer batter. The one here was passable, although the batter-crust was thicker and stodgier than Iโ€™d have liked.

:small_orange_diamond:๐˜ž๐˜ข๐˜จ๐˜บ๐˜ถ ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฆ๐˜ง ๐˜ฃ๐˜ข๐˜ฐ, ๐˜ธ๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜ฉ ๐˜ค๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฅ๐˜ข๐˜ณ ๐˜ค๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ, ๐˜ด๐˜ธ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฆ๐˜ต ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜ด๐˜ฉ ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ง๐˜ณ๐˜ช๐˜ฆ๐˜ด - absolutely loved this dish. The Wagyu beef patty was done medium as requested. It was perfect.

:small_orange_diamond:๐˜Š๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ค๐˜ฐ๐˜ข๐˜ญ-๐˜ฃ๐˜ถ๐˜ณ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต ๐˜ค๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ๐˜ค๐˜ข๐˜ฌ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ธ๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜ฉ ๐˜ท๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ช๐˜ญ๐˜ญ๐˜ข ๐˜ช๐˜ค๐˜ฆ-๐˜ค๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ฎ - the creamiest, richest cheesecake in Penang! I loved this, and would come back here just for this.


Interesting about ordering Medium Rare and getting what looks to be Medium. I ordered Prime Rib and earlier in the month, a Ribeye. Asked for both to be done Medium Rare. The Prime Rib was Medium Well, which I almost understand because of the way Prime Ribs are prepared. Still irked me though. But the Ribeye was served Medium which irked me even more because there is no excuse for that. Most people that like steaks think that getting a steak done Medium reduces the quality of the meal. Medium Well is worse.
I am not sure why chefs overcook meat, when you can put a steak back in the over to cook it some more but there is no way to un-cook a good piece of steak that is over-cooked. I used to order lean cuts Rare, but changed to Med Rare after getting a few that were supposed to be Med Rare but were closer to Bleu/Blue.